Helping people plan for the future, part 1By Randell Tiongson on October 25th, 2010
This year is my 22nd year in the financial services industry and I am a bit nostalgic. Aside from the fact that I am not as young as I think I am, I’d like to say that 22+ years have been eventful, to say the least. I’ve experienced a personal roller coaster but just like the old Glady’s Knight song, “I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs, but fate’s been kind, the downs have been few”… thank you Lord. There are many things I am thankful for in the last 22 years of my professional life. Foremost is that for 19 years, I have a wonderful partner, my wife Mia who has also embraced my zeal and advocacies.
For many years, I’ve been blessed to interact with countless people, not only do I get to share my knowledge and passion with them, I get to learn a great deal from them as well. Rolly Robles, a former boss of mine once shared me the concept of S.P.I.C.E. – S for Service, P for Personal and Professional Growth, I for Income, C for Challenge and E for Enjoyment. If I sum up my many years in this industry, I’d like to say that the concept is pretty much accurate.
So what do I really do? Many things. I’m an speaker, writer, trainer, consultant and a ‘trying hard’ entrepreneur. But to be more accurate, I mostly help people plan their financial future or teach people on how to help other people. For the past years, I’ve been doing more of the later, in my capacity as a teacher.
Is it easy? Sometimes it is, but most of the time it isn’t. Acquiring the necessary technical skills can be challenging but financial planning isn’t really rocket science. There are gazillion books, websites, and training programs on personal finance. There are many credible sites in the internet on financial planning and my favorite local program would be the Registered Financial Planner Institute, where I stand as one of its Directors. Acquisition of technical skills isn’t all too difficult — learning soft skills so you can apply the technical skill are the hard part.
Telling people that they need to take personal financial planning seriously is easier said than done. Majority of Filipinos are more interested in many things other than personal finance. Our savings rates are amongst the lowest in the world. Filipinos with insurance coverage are likewise just as low. Less than 1% of us invest in the stock market. Mutual Funds, UITF, Index Funds are not something your average Filipino will know, let alone understand. I’m really excited about the PERA Law but I wonder if our brothers and sisters will take advantage of it properly once it is enacted (anxiously awaiting the implementing guidelines). Average people are aware that they need to plan for retirement but still fail to do so. Common reasons you will hear is that they don’t have enough money to plan with. Agreed, that’s enough reason — but isn’t that enough reason to take planning seriously as well? If income is hardly enough today, isn’t it logical to concern ourselves with proper financial planning? If living expenses are not enough with our income, how will we survive when we don’t have the capacity to produce income anymore? …
… to be continued.